Wednesday, May 26, 2010

wasting time - in proper order

My best time wasters are distractions, things that distract from what I should be doing in the first place. But my friend Shirley Connolly has this mastered.
Shirley Connolly: So much goes through my mind that helps me waste my time. Usually this comes about when I’m trying to think about that missing phrase in my manuscript.
Suddenly, I notice my treasured antique-teacup collection must be rearranged. The living room is out of order, too. How can anyone’s creative juices flow when that’s the case? I need to move the couch at this angle… no that one. There, that’s it. Am I ready now? Well, I was until it donned on me that I’ve not had my second cup of coffee. It’s no wonder I couldn’t think before. That’s better. It was, anyway, until I noticed those bookcases in my office somehow got out of order too. That’s no good. It’s no wonder I haven’t been able to find what I needed the other day. But when that is taken care of, I suddenly realize I should take a few minutes to search out those Scriptures I’ll need for this Friday Ladies Koinonia Bible Study I’m teaching. I won’t have time later, will I? But wait! What about the wall comments I forgot to respond to on Facebook yesterday? Isn’t now the best time to do that? I don’t want anyone to think I’ve forgotten them. Oh my! And while I’m at it, shouldn’t I also get to those emails and get rid of some of that stuff built up in my junk box, and read my user manual on my new Kindle? Otherwise, how could anyone have the time to really think?
I’ll get to that missing phrase in my manuscript maybe tomorrow. Yes, I’ll do that then. By now, I’m too tired with my mind full of all the other things that have required dire need of my attention.

I thought I had distractions mastered, except what distracts me isn't so constructive. I am awed that Shirley does something relatively constructive when getting lost from the things she should be doing in the first place. Shirley, my hat is off you you!
So here is my thought/question of the day. If you could get distracted from what you should be doing, if you were stil wasting time, what would the most constructive waste of time be for you?
You're invited to visit Shirely Connolly's website at

Monday, May 24, 2010

wasting time - a good day off is a good day wasted

For those of you reading on the north side of the Canadian/USA border, thank you for joining me on this holiday in most of Canada, Victoria Day! For those of you who are visiting from south of the border, I am waving at you because you have to work today, I do not.
As a FYI, Victoria Day is a public holiday observed across Canada except for the Maritime provinces on the Monday before May 25th, which is Queen Victoria's birthday.
Since the topic of this post is wasting time, I invite you to check out the history of Victoria Day on Wikkopedia.
In the days of my childhood, Victoria Day was more commonly known as "Firecracker Day" which of course meant a lot of fun after sundown, with most families buying fireworks and setting them off. In the interests of safety, we can no longer buy fireworks from unregulated vendors, and we can no longer set off fireworks any old place we want, without a license, so Firecracker Day has more or less fizzled. Fizzled. Get it?
Victoria Day has now become the kickoff for the summer - the official first long weekend of the summer season. When my kids were little we always went on a family camping vacation in our tent trailer on the Victoria Day weekend, where wasting time is an art form.
When my husband took the boys fishing, I would stay at the campsite with my pot of coffee and a good book. When my husband took the boys biking down the trails, I would stay at the campsite with my pot of coffee and a good book. When my husband and the boys would go to collect firewood for the evening campfire, I would stay at the campsite with my pot of coffee and a good book. Does anyone see a pattern here?
Unfortunately our camping days are over. So I will probably spend most of the weekend in the living room with my pot of coffee and a good book. Only now, instead of an uncomfortable webbed lawnchair with a strip missing, I'll have a nice soft couch cushion underneath me.
Which leaves me with my thought/question of the day. As time goes by, do you find you have the same patterns when you waste time now, versus what you did ten years ago?
I always end off my posts with a link, but it's silly of me to have a link to my own website. So instead here's a link to Barnes and Noble, where they will be featuring my new book, The Narrow Path, on a front table display next week. If you're at B&N and see my book, I'd love it if you could take a photo of the display and send it to me, since there are no B&N's in Canada.
For all you Canadians, enjoy the holiday. For all you Non-Canadians, I hope you had a great day anyway.

Friday, May 21, 2010

wasting time - with a good snack

There are big ways and little ways to waste time, and my friend Martha Rogers (Martha is a real person, not the fictional mother on the TV show Castle)(and no, watching Castle is NOT a waste of time!) wastes time with a few of my favorite things. Do we hear a song coming? No, but maybe another poem.
Martha Rogers: How do I waste time? Let me count the ways.
To the heights and depths my creativity can soar.
When the manuscript calls, I’ll find a way
To put it off until another day.
When edits are due, and deadlines crunch,
I take the time to find something to munch.

I’d go on, but I’ll spare you the torment. Instead let me tell you about a few of my favorite time wasters, which is a lot more fun than what I'm supposed to be doing. I can always find something to do to waste time. I most often do it by playing Spider or Eight Off Solitaire Games on the computer, or working crossword puzzles. I have books of them to use when I’m finding excuses not to do certain chores. I do the one in the paper every day at lunch to extend my lunch time.
Then there’s snacking. Some snacks can be eaten at the computer, but others call for two hands and concentration like chips and Queso dip or picante sauce or eating ice cream sundaes. Did I mention reading emails, checking up on Facebook, or checking on my friends?
The problem is that I have such guilty feelings that I will overcompensate and spend so much time on a manuscript that my seat hurts and my feet swell. Gotta be a happy medium somewhere.

Side note - One of my favorite snacks, that requires two hands is popcorn with grated cheese and Ranch seasoning mixed in, microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
I digress. Or do I waste time?
Of course I zeroed in on Martha's comment about extending her lunch time with a time waster. Do you ever do things like that?
Here's my thought/question of the day. If you have a little time waster like that, if you went ahead and did something you were supposed to be doing, just for those few minutes, what could that be?
You're invited to check out Martha Rogers' website at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

wasting time - constructively

So many ways to waste time, so little time to do it.
My friend Janet Bly has one way to make wasting more constructively than I do.
Janet Chester Bly: How do I waste time and how do I make it constructive? Let me count the ways...everything from backtracking to find a lost object that I left in another room/store/friend's house to getting distracted by a TV news show. As soon as I get alert, I proclaim this as a productive detour. I use the time for exercise or prayer...running up and down the stairs or in place as I wait...praying for what's going on in the world at large or in my own personal world.

I know I should take that lost time sitting on the couch and do something with my brain that would serve more purpose than playing games on my Palm Pilot. But I've gotten some pretty good scores on Sonic The Hedgehog. Except, no one cares but me and Sonic.
I have lots of things I could think about while walking around doing nothing, although it seems that the only time I think constructively when I'm walking is when I take the dogs out for a walk, without my husband, for that very purpose.
I should try it. Sometimes. Not always. Just sometimes, and work up from there.
Here's my thought/question of the day. If you're like me and sometimes enjoy wasting time, do you have a portion of that wasted time that you could be wasting time, and thinking of something constructive at the same time? It's possible. I suppose.
You're invited to check out Janet Chester Bly's website at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wasting time - walking slowly, and getting distracted

Sometimes we can completely loose track of time getting distracted. But somethings are better to get distracted with than others, and here is my friend Angie Breidenbach to tel us all about it.
Angie Breidenbach: My favorite way to waste time is with my grandson. It seems like every moment watching him grow up is poignant and beautiful. I get lost in those moments. Recently we went for a walk. With a toddler, that takes a while :-) We made it about 3 houses down and found newspaper mail boxes. Fascinated with cause and effect, he had to toss little pebbles into the open ends. (Sorry, neighbors) and then we toddled on to the puddle in the road. This was extremely fascinating. Pebbles caused water to splash. That caused Jude to giggle. Bees buzzed and landed for a sip. Jude watched it all. When a tiny purple moth flickered around him, he had to chase it from spot to spot. We wasted time in the most precious way possible by being fascinated with nature through the eyes of a child.

I often get distracted with things and lose track of what I was supposed to be doing as well. But then there are so many things that I would miss if I didn't stop and smell the roses. Or stop and toss the pebbles. Or whatevever.
Which brings me to my thought/question of the day. What small thing have you been distracted with that on the surface just seemed to waste time, but ended up being a breathtaking moment?
You're invited to visit Angela Breidenbach's website at

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wasting time - with housework

When thinking about wasting time, we never think of something constructive or good as wasted, but my friend Ginny Hamlin does exactly that. Let's hear how
Ginny Hamlin:How do I waste time? Great Question. Hold on…I’ll be right back. I think I see dust on a table. (Hint-hint.) I would say the area I waste the most time is probably housecleaning. When it comes to cleaning I can dump endless hours into the bottomless pit known as “I’m-almost-done-I-just-need-one-more-minute.” My husband says those words should be on a bunch of Post-it-Notes throughout our home.
Forgettaboutit. I took a break to get a cup of decaf and noticed the windows in my living room needed to be cleaned. (No joking.) I enlisted my husband’s help and he removed the screens while I cleaned the glass (inside & out). I told him you’re not going to believe this but I’m writing an article for a friend’s blog on how I waste time… the topic is my (borderline) obsessive cleaning. He laughed.

I’m left with the question how can any of this, sweeping, mopping, dusting, and glass cleaning…to name but a few (BTW, I also like my bed made up with hospital corners, but I digress) be constructive? My rationale is--it could be worse. I could be at the other end of the spectrum and overlook Grape-nuts or OJ or coffee on the floor and pretend my bare feet aren’t sticking.
But I guess the bottom line is that more isn’t necessarily better, but… well, you know.

I can't say that I share Ginny's time waster, but I can see myself getting distracted and then doing a project that doesn't need to be done. I'll finish that project and it will be breathtaking, but... my original project, which was the necessary one, remains incomplete.
This makes my question/thought of the day easy. Are you like me and Ginny, getting distracted by things that aren't necessarily bad, but do waste time that was supposed to be spent on something else? If so, what can you do about it?
You're invited to visit Ginny Hamin's blog

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wasting time - a poem

How doest thou wasteth time? Let me count the ways.
Okay, my poetry is not good, but my friend Laurie Alice Eakes came up with a good one.
Laurie Alice Eakes:
Time, how I waste thee.
Let me count the ways.
With Facebook, blogs, and TV,
I squander all my days.
Well, the TV part, at least, isn’t true. That’s one vice I don’t have, except for a couple of news shows I like. Even those don’t catch me every day. But the other things—Facebook and blog posts, e-mail and books suck up more time than I realize. Where did the day go? I’ve been up since 5:00. I should have accomplished more. Why didn’t I get that laundry folded, more than a couple thousand words written, dinner on time? Hmm.
It reminds me of a cartoon that sticks in my head from childhood. The mom says to the dog, “Dog, why are you so fat? I only feed you once a day.” Then the father says, “Dog, why are you so fat? I only feed you once a day.” And so it goes through the whole family until the dog walks off shaking his head and saying, “Maybe it’s the snacks I get next door.”
Why do I get so far behind? I only check in twice a day? I only read that once a day. I only chattered about that for… Oh, maybe that dialogue took longer than I thought.
But it’s all good, right? I’m networking. I’m keeping up on the market, trends, readers, family, friends, the world.
All good and necessary, but maybe not in quite the quantity in which I indulge myself. It’s called priorities. Have my quiet time before I hit Facebook or e-mail. Feed the husband and animals before I indulge in news junky fixes. Write my word goals before answering e-mails. And, because I tend to volunteer for stuff, learn to, when necessary, just say no.

I love the cartoon story. I'd like to use that some day. But...
Anyway, I think Laurie Alice has hit on a key point - quantity and priorities. I think we can all do those things just fine, but let ourselves limits. Easier said than done, I know.
Here's my thought/question of the day. What do you do that you know wastes a significant amount of time, and how can you cut it down without cutting it out?
You're invited to visit Laurie Alice Eake's website at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wasting time - eek... facebook...

Oh I have said a magic word in relation to wasting time - Facebook. My, how we have all fallen in love with Facebook. It's been wonderful for me, I've reconnected with so many old friends I haven't seen for years, and it's also been great to keep in touch with major events in everyone's lives, and let them know the major events in mine - like the recent May 1st release of my new book The Narrow Path. Okay, that was a shameless promo, but I couldn't not do that.
My friend Ann Shorey is the one who got me started, talking about Facebook.
Ann Shorey: My biggest time waster is Facebook. I check it in the morning and post a few comments, then all day long when the email comes in I stop what I'm doing to read the follow-ups. Aargh. However, when I'm in the middle of a project with a time crunch, I'll just turn off the email. My time wasting is seldom constructive, unless I occasionally learn something useful by accident!

Who agrees with Ann? Who is addicted to Facebook? But now that it's here, can we live without it?
Which brings me to my thought/question of the day. How much time per day/week/month do you spend on Facebook, and how much of that do you consider wasted versus touching base with people, versus touching base with people you really care about?
You're invited to visit Ann Shorey's website at

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wasting time - and make it well "documented"

Here is one way of wasting time, but it's not really totally wasted. Not really. It all depends on perspective. My friend Sheila Lipsey and I share this, for sure!
Sheila Lipsey: I find myself wasting valuable time by becoming engrossed with too many television documentaries. I watch one after another when I could use that time to write. However, I have made an excuse for the times I watch documentary by saying it is my 'relaxation period'. I believe that it is truly a means for me to relax and get away from the computer screen, and rest my brain from all of the stories that are circulating, but I also have discovered that I waste valuable time as well.
I would like to learn how to become more wise when it comes to how I spend my time. I do not want to overdo it when it comes to being on the computer because at times it is very addictive as well. I can write and write and write, visit this website and that website, and then still walk away feeling that I have not achieved what i truly desire to achieve when it comes to my passion of writing. I want to do all things decently and in order.

Myself, I love to watch How It's Made. Another thing that is, well, semi-educational, which explains many things, ahem, is Mythbusters. Oh, yeah.
My thought/question of the day - what documentary or documentary-ish shows do you watch, and how do you justify them?
I invite you to visit Shelia's website at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wasting time - working (or playing?) around the day job

Some of us have less time to waste because of a day job - but guess what, we still have opportunites to wast those precious pockets of valuable time.
My friend Christine Lindsay openly admits to that, and more.
Christine Lindsay:Like most writers I have to work 9 to 5 to keep bacon on the table. So that means when I'm not working, the rest of my time is like gold. I have to squeeze every ounce out of the day in order to get the latest novel written. So . . . if only I wouldn't linger just a little too long with my third cup of tea in the morning, I might have written a page. But then, relaxing and gathering my thoughts for the day is good for me too, especially if that cup of tea is shared with the Lord.
Or when I am at my laptop, happily piecing together my latest scene and an email pops up, if I could only ignore it for a little while. But no. Like an addict, I open it and bang off a reply. Then another pops up and this one has an attachment that also begs to be read. I really ought to close my email for a few hours and do my correspondence all at once. After all, relationships are important, and email is my lifeline to a lot of people around this world.
But the biggest time waster---and truly the only one---is when I plan to watch TV in the evening. Instead of allowing myself a reasonable hour or occasionally two hours for a movie, I watch 3 hours. Now there's just no excuse for that whatsoever.

I know I can relate to the email issues - I'm bad for that. What did we do with ourselves before email? Or, who remembers what email was like when the only access was... dialup.... Oh, the pain.
But I sure share the time water of television. I don't have too many shows that hook me, but the bad part is when they are over, I should just get up and do something constructive instead of watching something I wouldn't have watched if I hadn't been sitting there.
My question/thought of the day is, since many of us struggle with television as being a time waster, what is ONE show or ONE pattern you can cut out, and maybe just give yourself an hour more a week. Just think 1 hour times 5 days a week and 52 weeks a year is... yeah, do the math, 10.8 days with no sleep. Or, if we count 8 hours a day sleeping, that's 16.2 days of just sleeping and watching television per year. Uh, that's longer than a 2 week vacation, doing nothing but watching televions.
The mind boggles.
In invite you to visit Christine Lindsay's website at

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wasting time - crock pot fever

I am happy (happy?) to say that I am not the only one who has a problem with wasting too much time. When I asked my friends for their stories, I had many very quick answers. Which wasn't wasting time, it is communicating with a friend. However, my friend Ruth Reid is not sharing her own ways of wasting time (why not, Ruth? haha) but instead, her husband's. This is a classic.
Ruth Reid: Since college, my husband and I have shared a theory of wasted time, we call it the "crock pot syndrome." I diagnosed his illness (okay, I'm not a doctor nor do I pretend to be), but my husband (boyfriend at the time) had the crock pot disease.
When he should have been deep in study for final exams, he'd spend hours dicing carrots, celery, onions into minuscule pieces to make crock pot chicken. After hours of checking and rechecking his boiling chicken parts, he'd ladle it over rice. Yes, It was a gross as it sounds. Sometimes you'd dip the ladle in the pot and pull up only chicken bones. I learned early to eat before going to his house. (Although it took 5 years of dating before I made that confession.)
What I remember, besides the grease film of boiled chicken skin on my tongue, was the wasted hours it took to shop for and prepare the meal. I used to tell him if he put those same hours into studying, he wouldn't panic during finals. I also, the studious person I was, pointed out that the only time he cooked was before finals. He unknowingly planned to waste time. I always thought it would be more fitting if he'd cook in a pressure cooker because inevitably that's what he did by wasting study time.
After we got married, the first thing I did was throw out his crock pot. Now, when we catch each other procrastinating, we ask, "what's in your crock pot?"

Uh... I have 2 crock pots. I don't use them tremendously often, but I have this great recipie for crockpot Apple Butter, which is fantastic on whole wheat toast... I make it every year. For those out there who know me well, I bet you can't imagine me in the kitchen making preserves, can you? Well, this is one thing I do. I won't tell you all my shortcuts, my grandmother would roll over in her grave, but my grandmother never had a dishwasher.
Oops, I digress.
Here's my thought/question of the day. Like Ruth's husband, do you ever deliberately waste time? What do you do, and here's the important question... what are you avoiding, and why?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wasting time - and time well wasted

My new topic of the month is about how we all tend to waste time, and as a bonus, how we can justify it. Yes, with enough effort, we can justify almost anything.
I know I waste a lot of time on the computer, I could do much more writing, but instead I find myself addicted to Spider Solitaire. Hands up, I know I'm not alone!

We all can say email wastes time, but really, it's communication with friends and the price is right. I can completely justify email! As well, all the email loops I'm in, they are for many purposes besides friendship - writing, music, and even help on my electronic gadgets. It's not wasting time to talk about music, unless of course I should be practicing for our next gig or concert. Oops, I'm going to change the subject.

Sometimes I waste time when I go grocery shopping. I have no idea why. We all know those days when we go for one item and come out with 20 things we didn't intend to buy and don't need... and then we don't have the one thing we went for in the first place. (Costco anyone?)

Wasting time, we all do it, and we can always justify it.

So for the next month, let's see what some of my friends have to say.
Feel free to comment or email me if you want to contribute. It's not wasting time. It's sharing.